ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (KTIV) – More than six years ago, the U.S. Navy chose to name its newest ship “Sioux City”.
The littoral combat ship was a new addition to the Navy’s fighting fleet, which can operate closer to shore than any other naval vessel.
By the numbers, the U.S.S. Sioux City is nearly 400-feet long.
The ship weighs 35-hundred metric tons.
When you do the math, that’s nearly 8-million pounds.
That said, the Sioux City can still reach a top speed of 45-knots, or 52 miles per hour.
When deployed, the Sioux City can carry up to 95 crew members.
Wednesday night, the ship is docked in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy, ready for Saturday’s commissioning ceremony.
It has been an incredible journey… from the naming of the ship, to its construction, and launch…
Saturday, the ship will be commissioned.
It’s a ceremony that paves the way for its service in the Navy.
But, before we focus on the ship’s future, we have to show you how we got to this historic moment.
In February of 2012…
“Thank y’all so much for being patient,” said Ray Mabus, U.S. Secretary of the Navy.
…the U.S. Navy announced that its newest littoral combat ship would bear the name of Iowa’s fourth largest city. The Navy says the name, “Sioux City”, was chosen to honor the patriotic, hard-working citizens of Sioux City, Iowa…
“And, that’s the type of character that will sail in the U.S.S. Sioux City,” said Mabus.
…and for their support of, and contributions to, the military.
CAPT Trevor King, LCS Program Executive Officer said, “Through this new warship, and the name she bears, we honor a city that represents the very best of the American spirit. Sioux City has contributed significant advances to the expansion of our country. And, has also provided unwavering support to our men and women in uniform.”
Work officially began in February of 2014 with the keel-laying ceremony, at a shipyard in northern Wisconsin. Over the next two years, workers, at Marinette Marine, would add 71 “modules” to the ship.
Nearly two years later, on January 30, 2016, another milestone. The christening… a ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle on the ship’s bow.
“May God bless this ship and all who sail on her,” said Mary Winnefeld, USS Sioux City sponsor.
Mary Winnefeld is the ship’s sponsor, and now considered an honorary crew member. It was up to her to send the Sioux City on its way… with one swing.
The Sioux City was only 80-percent complete when it was launched. Sensitive systems, like radar and combat systems, can’t be installed until after the ship is in the water.
Then, in January of 2017, KTIV’s cameras traveled with the crew to San Diego, California, for several weeks of intense, off-water training in a state-of-the-art simulator. At the time, it was the only one of its kind in the Navy, and trained LCS crews for something as simple as piloting the ship out of port… to something as serious as engaging the enemy.
“We can practice those things without being out on the water on the ship,” said CDR W. Shockey Snyder, USS Sioux City. “And, we can make mistakes here without anyone getting hurt.”
After five weeks of training on the west coast, the crew and the ship returned to Wisconsin for acceptance trials on the Great Lakes, which is passed in the spring… putting it one step closer to its commissioning, on Saturday.
That ceremony starts at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, here at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Tomorrow, Commander Randy Malone will give KTIV’s cameras a tour of the USS Sioux City.
KTIV’s Matt Breen will be live from Annapolis throughout the week. Stay tuned to News 4 from the latest updates on the commissioning. You can also follow Matt’s updates on the commissioning on Twitter.